United Jewish Communities and UJA-Federation of New York announced this week that they were launching Israel Emergency Campaigns to help Israelis during the fighting in Lebanon and Gaza. The UJC was expected to announce a $300 million campaign; UJA-Federation hopes to raise $60 million.
The Israel Emergency Campaign launched Tuesday by UJA-Federation of New York is different from the Solidarity Fund established in the hours after the war in Lebanon began July 12 because the fund was “a way for people to give who wanted to give” and the campaign will solicit people for money, according to John Ruskay, the group’s executive vice president.
He said that between $1 million and $2 million had been raised for the fund; a spokesman for the UJC said donor had already contributed $23 million since the crisis began.
Ruskay said his campaign was to be launched this week with a breakfast Thursday morning for major donors chaired by James Tisch, Alan Greenberg and Dan Och, three leaders of the financial community.
“We hope to raise this money as quickly as we can by providing all elements of the community with the opportunity to participate,” Ruskay said. He said that during his trip to Israel last week with leaders of his organization, he “saw the need to bring children from the north to safe camps in central Israel.”
“Today, there are over 12,000 children in these camps run by the Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Education,” said Ruskay, adding that he was told that additional money was needed to bring more children to these camps. To make that happen immediately, Ruskay said the board of UJA-Federation approved Tuesday the appropriation of $10 million from its reserve fund.
In addition to providing a safe camping experience for children in the north, Ruskay said the money would be used to provide direct aid to widows and orphans of fallen Israeli soldiers, and to provide trauma support for children, Holocaust survivors, the elderly and immigrants who suffer post-traumatic stress because of the conflict.